LOME, Togo (PAMACC News) - The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a dual-currency Trade Finance Line of Credit for ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) comprising $50 million and EUR 50 million. An additional co-financing of $30 million for the credit line will come through the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).
EBID will use the three-and-a-half-year facility to provide direct financing to local corporates. Part of the facility will also be channelled through select local banks for on-lending to key sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, and transport. The ultimate beneficiaries will be Small and Medium-sized Enterprises(SMEs), local enterprises cooperatives and farmers in the West Africa region.
Speaking soon after the Board approval, the Deputy Director General for the West Africa Region, Joseph Ribeiro noted that regional development finance institutions like EBID are key partners of the African Development Bank and serve markets and client segments critical to the overall development of the continent.
“They play an important role in promoting trade and regional integration. This is the Bank’s first financing support to EBID, and we look forward to an even stronger partnership in the near future,” he said.
The Bank’s Head of Trade Finance, Lamin Drammeh, stressed the critical need for such support in the region. “We are excited to work with EBID to increase access to trade finance in the ECOWAS region with a special focus on the agriculture value chain, SMEs and women-owned businesses”, he said. “Regional institutions like EBID complement the Bank’s efforts to bridge the trade finance gap in Africa and serve as an effective conduit for channeling much-needed funds to underserved countries and sectors”, he added.
The African Development Bank estimates the annual trade finance gap for Africa to be around $81 billion. Compared to multinational corporates and large local corporates, SMEs and other domestic firms have greater difficulty in accessing trade finance.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC ) - Ahead of the annual gathering of world leaders in Davos next week, Alvaro Lario, President of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), warns of the urgent need to invest at speed and scale in long-term rural development to prevent recurring food crises and end hunger and poverty.
“We cannot continue to go from food crisis to food crisis. We should not have to see countries experiencing acute food insecurity over and over again. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We must take immediate and concrete actions to strengthen our failing food systems - this requires strong commitment and bold investment,” said Lario.
At Davos, Lario will be calling for a massive scale-up of investments in agriculture, and long-term rural development from governments, investors and private companies with the view to ensure nutritional security and food sovereignty, an issue that has become critical for developing countries. At least an additional US$30 billion per year in investments are needed according to pre-COVID19 estimates, now the costs are even higher.
“Only long-term investments in rural economies can provide long-lasting solutions to hunger, under-nutrition and poverty. This is what will enable small-scale farmers to increase local production, better adapt to climate change, build short and local food chains, build and sustain local markets and commercial opportunities, and create small rural businesses. This approach makes a lot of economic sense,” said the IFAD President.
According to World Bank research, growth in agriculture is two to four times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors.
Today, the world is experiencing an unprecedented food crisis due to the convergence of high food, energy and fertilizer prices linked to the war in Ukraine, and several climate shocks. Key drivers of hunger remain conflict, climate change and the economic slowdown and difficult recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of people facing acute food insecurity soared - from 135 million in 2019 to 345 million in 2022. Currently, a total of 49 million people in 49 countries live on the edge of famine. One person in ten - about 828 million people - are currently suffering from hunger defined as chronic undernourishment. In addition, almost 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. Increasingly world food consumption is concentrated on three main crops (wheat, maize and rice). An estimated 45 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, 149 million children have stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients in their diet, while 39 million are overweight.
Despite global commitments to end hunger by 2030, donor support for agriculture has been stagnant at just 4 percent of total ODA for at least two decades. About 3 billion people live in the rural areas of developing countries and they rely to a significant extent on small-scale farming for their food and livelihoods.
In the years to come, extreme weather events will likely increase in frequency and magnitude, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Global food systems are at increased risk of disruption, with potential supply shortages and price hikes.
As the world becomes more fragile, building food sovereignty and security by strengthening local resilience, ensuring local production and well-functioning markets will become increasingly vital. Part of the solution also lies in supporting indigenous cropping systems, agro-ecology and reducing food waste and loss which represents about one third of the food produced today.
“We should not wait another minute to invest in rural areas. With climate change accelerating, we have a very narrow window of opportunity to help rural populations adapt, and continue to produce the food that they and their communities need to survive - which in turn is key to global health and stability,” said Lario.
Research shows that future crop yields could decline by up to a quarter by the end of the century with extreme weather events increasing in regularity and intensity. Also more than 35 per cent of the global cropland used to grow wheat and rice could be subject to damaging hot spells by 2050.
Small-scale farmers who produce one third of the world’s food receive less than 2 percent of global climate finance.
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (PAMACC News) - Forest experts in Africa have reiterated the need to reinforce efforts in sustainable land use and forest management in the continent to secure a better future. The experts were speaking at a workshop organised by African Forest Forum (AFF) from June 6 to 10, 2022 at Pacific Hotel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The regional workshop according to AFF was to share the conclusions and recommendations of studies conducted over the past three years as part of two funded projects, one by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the other by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Held under the theme “state of the African forest,” experts exchanged and shared information on the state of the African forest, the challenges and potential solutions.
According to Maries Louis Avana-Tientcheu of AFF, “the lives of many Africans depend on forest resources and therefore ensuring its sustainable management is guaranteeing the future of the population and especially those who directly survive from it.”
According to the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), over two-thirds of Africa's 600 million people rely directly and indirectly on forests for their livelihoods, including food security, thus the need to protect and preserve the continent's rich forest resources.
Coming on the heels of the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) known as COP27 in Egypt, the experts agreed it was time for forest stakeholders in Africa to be abreast with the intricacies of land use and forest management in order to find lasting solutions that will improve the livelihood of the population and especially those who depend on the forest for survival.
African Forest Forum is sensitizing its members and other forest stakeholders on the stakes of the upcoming COP27 in Egypt.
“This is very important for us because it is taking place in Africa and it is an opportunity for forest stakeholders in the continent to make maximum benefits of the COP27,” says Maries Louis Avana-Tientcheu
According to statistics from CIFOR, Africa has an estimated 624 million ha of forest, 98 .8 per cent of which are natural forests. Forests types and cover include rainforests and other humid forests; dryland forests; savannahs and woodlands; mountain forests; mangrove forests; and plantations.
Unfortunately, Africa’s forest sector is, however, faced with many challenges that constrain its capacity to provide meaningful and sustainable ecosystem services including contributing to socio-economic development.
The continent’s forest area declined by 2 .8 million ha per year between 2010 and 2019, a much higher rate than anywhere else in the world, the CIFOR report says.
Environment experts have therefore not ceased reiterating the need for restraint in land and forest use by governments and other stakeholders.
Cameroon for example counts about 22.5 million hectares of humid forests with deforestation of over 0.8% per year between 2000 and 20016, according to statistics from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.
Forest experts say in a fragmented context where forestry policies compete with other development sectors' policies whose implementation involves deforestation or forest degradation, a better understanding of the socio-economic importance of forests and their effective incorporation in national accounts are key pieces of information in determining policy options on land use allocation.
“ Forest Stakeholders need to understand the socio-economic importance of the forest to guide their decision making and policy formulation,” says Achile Baudelaire Momo, Consultant at World Resource Institute, Yaounde.
“There is a need for win-win solutions which we can and must scale up, to feed the world without destroying our forests,” he noted.
At the XV World Forestry Congress last month in Seoul, Korea, forest experts emphasized the need for stakeholders to overcome setbacks and drive solution-oriented policies to protect forest resources.
“No matter which crises we are facing – a pandemic, conflicts, climate change – and their resulting economic recession and food insecurity, we must consider our forests and our natural resources as part of the solution and integrate them into recovery plans and strategies.” Says Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO.
The African Forest Forum (AFF), also known as African Forestry Forum, it should be recalled, is an association of individuals who are committed to advancing the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its peoples and for the stability and improvement of its environment.
The purpose of the forum is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues.
The goal is to galvanize the African voice and opinion and mobilize resources on forestry and related issues that cut across countries and regions with a view of enhancing the relevance and contribution of forestry to the people of Africa and their environment.
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Individuals, communities, civil society, businesses and governments around the world marked World Environment Day under the theme #OnlyOneEarth, with official celebrations held in Stockholm and host country Sweden announcing a ban on issuing new licenses for the extraction of coal, oil, and natural gas from 1 July this year to protect people and planet.
Announcing the ban at the official Word Environment Day celebrations in Stockholm, Sweden’s Minister for Climate and the Environment, Annika Strandhäll, said, “Making the green jobs of the future by accelerating the climate transition is one of the top priorities for the Swedish government. As part of our efforts to implement our climate ambitions, we must take actions against activities that have a negative impact on our health and our environment.”
“Our message to the global community is clear. The winners in the global race will be the ones that speed up the transition, not the ones that lag behind and cling to a dependency on fossil fuels,” she added.
Tens of millions of people around the world joined global conversations on social media demanding urgent action to conserve and restore the environment. Tens of thousands organized their own activities, including the planting of millions of trees, cleaning trash and taking actions to highlight that there is #OnlyOneEarth.
2022 marks the 49th time World Environment Day has been celebrated. It was established following the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, and is celebrated annually on 5 June, with a different country hosting it each year. This year’s theme – #OnlyOneEarth – mirrors the theme of the first World Environment Day in 1973. It calls for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.
“Fifty years ago, the world’s leaders came together at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and committed to protecting the planet. But we are far from succeeding. We can no longer ignore the alarm bells that ring louder every day,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his World Environment Day message.
“The recent Stockholm+50 environment meeting reiterated that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals rely on a healthy planet,” he added. “We must all take responsibility to avert the catastrophe being wrought by the triple crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.”
The official event, held at the Tekniska Museet in Stockholm, included a discussion between Ms. Strandhäll, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, and young people.
“The triple planetary crisis is accelerating, and why? Because we consume 1.7 planets a year. We have only one Earth. We have to accept that we're not doing enough to protect it,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said at the event. “I stand before you because we have to do better. We know what to do. The science has told us we have to end fossil fuels. We have to restore nature to its full glory. We have to transform our food systems. We have to make our cities green.”
Around the world, countries and communities acted on World Environment Day to make a real difference to their environments. Religious leaders came together to sign a landmark appeal on climate-responsible finance. These organisations will only engage with financial institutions that are aligned with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to 1.5° C.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the LiFe initiative to raise awareness about sustainable lifestyles.
New Zealand’s Government announced on World Environment Day that the Styx Living Laboratory and partners will receive $4.12 million of Jobs for Nature funding to protect the Styx River (Pūharakekenui).
Argentina has adopted the exotic invasive species national strategy, including joint management plans with Chile, while Paraguay will launch the Paraguay + Verde project to address climate change after receiving financial support of US$50 million from the Global Environment Facility.
To commence on World Environment Day, Singapore’s Quest Global, one of the world’s fastest growing engineering services firms, announced its Quest Global Pledge – a global reforestation drive. In partnership with One Tree Planted, the firm will plant 500,000 trees globally by 2025.
In conjunction with the United Nations Association Canada, and with funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada, an official event will launch a curriculum on Indigenous Conservation across Canada.
Uruguay announced that it will start participatory processes towards work on its second Nationally Determined Contributions towards the Paris Agreement Goals.